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Westmoreland Place Is Site Of This Year's Heritage Foundation Tour

Published: Monday, May 9 2011 5:11 p.m. MDT

The upcoming Heritage Home Tour will include this prairie-style bungalow at 1525 Westmoreland Drive. Photo taken on Friday, April 29, 2011. (Photo/Laura Seitz)

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

The first couple of decades of the 20th century were a time of expansion and change for Salt Lake City. Only four years into statehood, the city saw its population double over the next 20 years.

New technologies and increasing prosperity set the tone for the creation of new neighborhoods, filled with homes built in the latest architectural styles, particularly on the city's east side, where expansion had initially been slower.

One of these new developments was Westmoreland Place, located at 1500 East and 1300 South, and the site of this year's Historic Homes Tour.

Westmoreland Place was the brainchild of the Dunshee brothers, Earl and Clark, who planned it as a modern, upscale location that they hoped would appeal to Salt Lake's upwardly mobile business leaders.

A streetcar line ran along the west edge of Westmoreland Place. In newspaper ads of the day, the Dunshee brothers pointed out that the time from the subdivision to downtown was only 18 minutes by streetcar, and the area became known as one of the city's "streetcar subdivisions."

The first houses were built in 1913. Between then and 1952, some 69 houses would be built, primarily in the bungalow style, which was considered the latest, greatest answer to the American Dream of home-ownership.

Westmoreland Place was designated a "National Historic District" in 2010. The Historic Homes Tour, which takes place on Saturday, will feature nine homes, as well as provide an opportunity to see the neighborhood.

"All the homes are within walking distance, all within two square blocks," says Alison Flanders, with the Utah Heritage Foundation, which sponsors the tour. "It's just a great, tight, historic little neighborhood."

The Dunshee brothers required that owners spend at least $3,000 on their home, "and they wouldn't let people build the garage first," says Flanders. "In those days, it was typical for people to build the garage and live in it while they built the house. But the Dunshees wanted this to be an elite neighborhood that would attract people who could afford to pay that much for a house."

The Dunshees had moved from Iowa to Salt Lake City with their parents in the late 19th century. They had both worked for the Salt Lake Herald, Clark as editor and Earl as circulation manager, before turning to real estate development.

They patterned Westmoreland Place after, and in fact took the name from, a development in California by the Greene brothers, architects who are credited with starting the American Craftsman/bungalow movement in the U.S.

Bungalows originated in India, where they were first built for English sailors of the East India Co. and later expanded and improved for English residents during the colonial period. They were typically one-story homes with low-pitched roofs and a front porch. Between about 1905 and 1930, they were the dominant architectural style in the U.S., most commonly built in the Arts & Crafts or Craftsman style, although a number of variations came along.

Interiors had rooms that flowed into each other, richly decorated with wood.

"The idea was to bring the outdoors inside," says Kathy Nielsen of the Utah Heritage Foundation.

What is especially interesting about Westmoreland Place, she adds, is that none of the houses built there have been torn down. And while there are chances to see the archetype bungalow, there are also rarer examples of the California bungalow, which is one-and-a-half-story with a wide, open gable over the front porch; and the "airplane" bungalow, which has a small, second-story room, with windows on all sides, perched on the roof like the cockpit of an airplane.

There are other architectural styles, as well, says Flanders, including an early duplex and some period revival cottages. But the bungalows are a real treat, she says.

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